The iPad is here

Thanks to my dear friend from NYC and his... accomplice :), I have had an iPad delivered a couple of days ago. I haven't actually managed to do much on it yet, I have spent my minimal free time in the evenings having the iPad lying on my desk connected to my desktop, while I was trying to find any decent specialized iPad apps in the AppStore, which is not as easy as it sounds.

Quickly let me get through what everybody else has already said: looks stunning, feels sturdy, screen is amazing and bright, battery life exceptional. That all we all know. Here is my take on the rest - a very quick first impressions review...

Sturdy feeling generally and the thick bevel allows you to handle it very easily. On the desktop surface is perfectly usable. It's like a normal notepad instead of a pen you use your fingers. Admittedly you can write faster than you can type on one hand, but for casual use it's perfect. In bed lying on your back it's unusable, too heavy. Lying in front is ok, but the iPad has a large screen, I'm looking to push my head upwards all the time which is not confortable on my back. Leaning against the wall and having it on your lap is fine, although I can't imagine typing is fun. In fact, as I haven't used it for anything serious so far I can't really tell whether typing is confortable or not. But then again, the pad is not for typing books, it's for casual browsing. On the sofa, armchair etc. it's where the iPad shines. Haven't watched  an F1 Grand Prix with it yet, but I'm looking forward to it...

Unfortunately living in the UK means that we can't access the AppStore yet (until the iPad is released later this month), so we can't download iWork and iBooks. This leaves us with the only option of getting some stuff down through iTunes and synchronizing with the iPad. A bit inconvenient but early adoption comes with the need for tricks.

Touch Interface
I think we are still in very early days of touch interfaces. The iPhone taught us all how to use our fingers again, and what we see today is the evolution of these interfaces. It comes through the development of the screens and drivers (number of touch points, momentum) but also it comes through the way that individual developers use them. I haven't read any Touch Interface Guidelines yet, but there's plenty of them.. The iPad from that respect feels like it has the best capacitive screen yet, but still some apps are suffering from the way this interface is used. Maps is a good example, Calendar is a bad example.

iPod Apps
iPod applications run in a little window in the middle of the screen, or if you press the [2x] button they get stretched almost to the edges of the screen. The aspect ratio is unaffected and they don't look bad, but the [1x] button still remains on screen... which means that you can accidentally touch it and zoom it goes... Somehow I feel it would be a good idea to either setup the zoom mode for all and individual apps in the settings area.

Internet Browsing
It's amazing what the portrait form factor can do to the looks of a website. Almost everything looks prettier, this is the view that designers design websites against. Browsing in portrait mode is 10x better than landscape.

Well video playback depends on source quality, so assumming we're talking about proper videos here the quality is outstanding.

Best Apps
It has to be Maps and Photos from Apple, TweetDeck and Granimator from the rest.

Best Games
Fieldrunners looks amazing, however FlightCtrl HD must be the winner. It is a different class altogether with its multiplayer mode, gameplay has improved and generally is probably the most polished game in the AppStore today. The 1024x768 has a great potential and I expect to see extraordinary graphics in the months to come.

I always wanted a bigger iPod ever since I got the first generation "Touch". I had realised at the time that I was using the iPod more for browsing and casual games rather than listening to music on the move. The first iPad has gotten the stick from many people but for me it represents the beginning of a new era of computing. It's the social pad that should live in the lounge and people would pick it up, read the news, check the weather, read their email, catch up with their Twitter and RSS feeds. I expect that the next version of the OS will be adding a wealth of new features, most importantly I would like to see "Profiles" which would mean that I can share my iPad with other members of my family, without having to see their emails, personalisations and bookmarks. That would get my first vote for improvements.

I would also like to see a video camera so that people can video chat, the position of this device in your hands makes it perfect for that kind of interaction. I especially look forward to my mum video chatting to her grandson without having to deal with PCs, Cameras and mice. That is most definitely a scene from the future, I just hope it's not too far away from today.

Other than that, I'm over the moon with the iPad. As time goes by, I will see where it fits with my lifestyle, but currently it lives on my desktop, my bedside table and my bag.
Deja_Voodoo said...

Nice little article Κώστα! These are my thoughts too with regard to the iPad, though I must admit I'll probably wait for the next generation (the main reason being that I don't REALLY need it at the moment and I'm not a compulsive gadget byer...yet!).

Here's a recent article on the iPad by the great Stephen Fry, who agrees with you:


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